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Where the Heart Is 1969-1973


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I wonder whatever happened to that young boy on the show? Can't remember his name or his character's name. Can someone fill me in? He had dark hair, and was thin.

You are thinking of young Peter Jardin, played by Michael Bersell. Mike also played the infamous "Bobby Martin" on AMC, who supposedly went to the attic for skis and never returned. The story is apocryphal. Bobby went away to summer camp and never returned.

On Where the Heart Is, Peter was the son of Ellie Jardin, who cared for an amnesiac Steve Prescott in late 1970/ early 1971. Peter became Steve and wife Kate(Hathaway)Prescott's young ward after Ellie was killed by Arthur Saxton's thugs, sent to murder Steve once and for all.

Orphaned Peter precipitated one of the most outrageous plot lines on Where the Heart Is. His maiden aunts Margaret and Loretta showed up in Northcross. Margaret was a neurotic bully who was determined to lure Peter away from the Prescotts. She badgered the timid Loretta, herself a weak willed alcoholic. Peter had been mute ever since his father Robert's sudden death a few years earlier, and Margaret constantly reminded Loretta about Robert's death. You see, Loretta had drunkenly run over Robert and killed him whilst drunk driving. What Loretta did not know was that Margaret had a thing for her own brother! She had begged him to leave Ellie and stay with the family. Robert was disgusted and planned to get far away from them. It was actually Margaret who mowed Robert down with the sedan, and then she shoved a drunken Loretta behind the wheel to make it look like an accident. Peter, who had witnessed it all, finally found his voice and screamed the truth. Margaret chased him across an icy pond, fell through the ice, and drowned.

All was right with the world for Peter until February 1973. He went to clean the family's garage, when a dropped match ignited some rags and a canister of gasoline. The garage went up in flames, and 15 year old Peter burned to death in the conflagration. By the way, all of this was written by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer. They recycled part of the Jardin story on Ryan's Hope when Delia ran over Barry Ryan and left a drunken Faith in the driver's seat, and also the killing of a child when Jill's beach house exploded with baby Edmond inside.

Edited by saynotoursoap
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Wow. That sounds like very tough stuff, especially for 1973. I don't remember the Labines doing the quasi-incest stuff on any other soaps (unless you count Richard and Edmund on GL, which I don't think was intentional...).

Was his death near the end of the show?

Sorry if this was already asked but what was the story behind Kate dancing drunkenly in front of children? I think that was mentioned in Schemering's book.

I wish this show was available. I loved Diana van der Vlis as Nell Bealuac on Ryan's Hope. She was phenomenal, she really did carry the show in its first six months, along with Jack and Mary, as other stories had a lot of casting problems.

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(in fact how old is Margaret DePriest? I know she wrote for Sunset Beach and I felt she was the best writer for that campy show--is she still alive? She musta been relatively young when she created Heart Is, I wonder how she got the job as I don't think she had had any major runs on other soaps before)

Eric,

DePriest was probably in her early 30's when she created Where the Heart Is. How she got the job is a hoary old story. She had been an actress on The Edge of Night when Lou Scofield was headwriter following the departure of creator Irving Vendig. Lou Scofield's wife was dying, and he and DePreist had an affair. Voila, instant soap creator with virtually no experience -with the pen, that is. WTHI was a so-so soap in the beginning. It was Pat Falken Smith, and later Labine and Mayer, who turned it into something truly marvelous. The plots moved lickity-split, the dialogue was literate and witty. WTHI was a precursor to Santa Barbara and the campy soaps of the 1990's, but with a better ensemble of actors and a genuine pathos sprinkled into the outrageous proceedings.

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In the final months, Kate had developed a split personality, Betty, who was the one dancing lewdly in front of children. Kate's psychological issues stemmed from her troubled relationship with her father, Judge Hathaway, who had died when the show premiered. In the final week, I beleive Kate agreed to take time off from law school to take a vacation with Steve in order to handle her issues.

In regards to Labine & Mayer and incest, I remember Delia, on at least one occasion, accused Mary Ryan of loving her brother, Frank, a bit too much. Kate Mulgrew was playing the role at the time and played it like there may a have been a bit of truth to that. I'm not saying Mary was trying to jump into bed with Frank, but I think Mary's attachment to Frank ran a bit too deep at times.

Edited by dc11786
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Thanks. I wish I could see that. If the show had gone on I wonder if they would have had Kate as being sexually abused by her father.

I'd forgotten about the scene with Mary and Delia. That sounds like something early Delia would have said to Mary, before Delia's relationships with the Ryans descended into self-parody.

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I don't think they would have revealed that Kate and her father had a sexual relationship. It is said on the article on page one that it was a rather cathartic experience for Diana van der Vlis, delaing with her own father's death not that long ago. Plus, I think Kate's devotion to her father seemed more related to proving to him she was good enough professionally. Kate was studying law, while her father had been a judge. Her daddy issues seem more related to proving herself.

Not to side bar too much, but I love early "Ryan's Hope." Maeve was a nasty b###tch at times. I remember a conversation she had with Jill where Maeve rather bluntly informed Jill she would never recognize Jill as Frank's wife because, in the eyes of the church, Delia would always fill that role. I also loved Patrick Ryan before they decided he needed to be the romantic male lead. When Pat realized Bucky loved Faith, Pat rather coldly informed Bucky Faith wasn't worth the time because she wouldn't put out. Then a month or two later Faith was the love of Pat' life. Ugh! I loved when Faith was a cold fish who was messed up because she had slept with one of her professors in college. God, some of the early characterizations for those characters were so much richer before they were watered down.

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I remember some fun and crazy scenes where Pat brought his "hot" nurse friend to Ryan's to dance with him so Faith would be jealous. Faith was furious while poor Buck was an afterthought.

The story of Pat and Faith worked a lot better for me when he wasn't actually interested in her beyond some fun than it did as the true love. I think it just worked briefly through Hicks and Groome but there was nothing in the story which made the characters work. Faith as a character veered all over the place and she pushed a lot of my buttons. I wasn't that fond of Faith Catlin but I wish ABC had given her more of a chance. I think that stalker story was a mistake and is probably what got her fired.

I've always wanted to see what the story might have been if Frank had died and Mary had been elected to Congress. Frank was a dud character for ages, the only time he worked for about a year and a half or so was the early flashbacks of his life as the saint of the family.

Do you know who Louise Shaffer played on the show? And Delphi Harrington, who briefly temped on RH in 1981, Labine and Mayer knew her through this show?

I remember Labine and Mayer saying they loved a story on this show about characters meeting at an Irish tavern, Wild Rose or something, for an affair, and that helped them with the ideas for RH. That was this show right?

Here's a brief script moment and some photos of James Mitchell.

http://www.welovesoaps.net/2010/01/james-mitchell-on-where-heart-is.html

Edited by CarlD2
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Delphi Harrington temped for Judith Bancroft when Barbara Wilde recovered after choking on a canape at the anniversity party for "The Proud and the Passionate." On "Where the Heart Is," Harrington was Allison's photographer pal Christine Cameron, who had a pension for married men. Initially, she was involved with Tony Monroe, which I've read went bust when Tony was shipped away. I suspect there was a change in writers as the show seemed to go through so many of them. Later, Christine bedded Dr. Hugh Jessup, who married Louise Shaffer's Allison Archer, a birthed his daughter Katrina. When Hugh chose his wife over his mistress, Christine sought the solace of John Rainey, a lawyer who was estranged from his wife Adrienne Harris. Adrienne was a psychiatrist who treated Christine for her psychological issues and used her position to have Christine go insane during Katrina's custody battle in order for Adrienne to resume her marriage to John.

On "Where the Heart Is," Liz Rainey and Julian Hathaway rendezvoused at the Red Hand, an Irish pub. It was during this storyline that Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer contemplated the idea of a story about a family who ran a pub.

The scripted moments from the WeLoveSoaps article come from another online article about the cancellation of "Where the Heart Is." The Village Voice wrote about WTHI on several occassions and recapped much of the show's final storylines involving Liz/Julian/Mary, Adrienne/John/Christine, and Kate/Steve.

Saynotoursoap, do you what stories or characters Pat Falken Smith was responsible for?

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Saynotoursoap, do you what stories or characters Pat Falken Smith was responsible for?

Pat wrote the latter part of the Vicky Lucas Hathaway story. Michael Hathaway was in love with his stepmother Mary, who was much younger than Michael's dad Julian. Vicky was determined to get her hooks into Michael. She knew that Michael's Achilles heel was his turbulent relationship with Julian. Michael's mother had died giving birth to him. As a result, Julian was somewhat cold and indifferent to his son. Vicky managed to get Michael into the sack and conveniently became pregnant, because she knew Michael would never reject a child the way Julian had. Vicky was delusional. She thought Michael would grow to love her in time, but he didn't. When he confessed that he carried a torch for Mary, he Vicky had a terrible argument. Their car skidded on an icy road and crashed. This was around Christmas vacation 1970. Vicky lost the baby, but determined to hang on to Michael, she feigned paralysis. Michael and Mary were racked with guilt over the turn of events. Mary was pregnant with Julian's child at the time. Vicky, ensconced in the Hathaway home as a "bedridden invalid" tormented Mary. Vicky had a dinner bell which she rang continuously, and had Mary running all over the house waiting on her hand and foot. No one knew that Vicky was faking paralysis. One day Mary caught Vicky standing. She was going to reveal Vicky's schemes to Julian and Michael. They got into a fight on the staircase, and Mary fell down the stairs. Robyn Millan decided to the leave the series, and Pat wrote her out by shipping her off to a sanitarium. Pat also finished off the Ellie Jardin story that I discussed in another post. Pat and Paul Avila Mayer created the Jardin sisters Margaret and Loretta, as well as John Rainey, Liz Rainey, and Adrienne Harris. Pat laid the groundwork for the Jardin incest story and the triangles between Christine/John/Adrienne and Julian/Liz/Michael, but Labine & Mayer mostly executed all of that in 1972.

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OK I posted about the two other, now completely gone it seems (not even a few scenes seem to have been saved) soaps that I always wish I could see--Lemay's Lovers and Friends and Marland's New Day in Eden--the other "missing" soap that I always read about and sounds fascinating to me is Where the Heart Is.

It ran longer than the other two--nearly 5 years, and was created by Margaret DePriest who is a writer I think has always had talent (even if she briefly did two late 80/early 90s eras on my two fave soaps, AMC and OLTL that aren't known as their best) and a style I like in soap operas. Did anyone see/remember this intriguing sounding show? ANything from it exist? Reading the outrageous plot descriptions and that Chris Schemering said the show was great farce makes me think it may have had a touch of what Sunset Beach (and dare I say it my hated Passions) were trying for, but done so maybe better.

(in fact how old is Margaret DePriest? I know she wrote for Sunset Beach and I felt she was the best writer for that campy show--is she still alive? She musta been relatively young when she created Heart Is, I wonder how she got the job as I don't think she had had any major runs on other soaps before)

Here's the 1987 Soap Opera Encyclopedia entry by Chris Schemering:

Where the HEart Is

Sep 8 1969 - March 23 1973

Created by Margaret DePriest and Lou Scofield (who died during the run), former writers of The Edge of Night, this was a wonderfully bizarre, and perhaps ahead of its time, daytime serial centering on sexual intrigues in the Hathaway and Prescott families. Everybody in the suburban town of Northcross, Connecticut, seemed to be silmutaneously in love with two or three other individuals; pregnant or working on it; living with each other out of wedlock (risque for soaps of the day especially on conservative CBS); or cheating on their lovers with their spouses! Even the stalwart Kate Hathaway, who was always to be counted in a crisis, took to hearing Joan of Arc voices, falling into schizophrenic fantasies, wearing Frederick's of Hollywood scanties, and dancing lewdly in front of children [sounds liek a marvelous soap creation to me!]!

Fans remember the sexual roundelay of the show with hilarious affection chiefly because of the top-notch acting by a strong cast headed by James Mitchell (Palmer on AMC later on, and an ex well known Broadway and Hollywood dancer), the lush direction of Richard Dunlap and Bill Glenn (who later took their formidable talents and much of Heart's look to The Young and the Restless), and the sharp writing firstr of Margaret DePriest and later of such soon to become formidable names as Pat Falken Smith, and Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer. Although the ratings were quite good -- a 6.8 when the cast was informed of the show's cancelation on Feb 12, 1973 -- CBS felt the masses were not cottoning to the revelry, and that the cult audience the show was attracting was scaring away conservative advertisers. Canceled the same day as Love is a Many SPlendored Thing, it was replaced by the similar but often even more avant garde The Young and the Restless.

The story was a triumph of well played farce: Julian Hathaway, a widowed English professor, married Mary, who was really in love with Julian's son Michael. Villainess Vicky Lucas exploited the situation by getting pregnant by the unhappy Michael and forcing him into marriage. After Vicky lost her baby, she vindictively pushed Mary, also pregnant, down a flight of stairs. Vicky was then commited to a mental institution, only to make a major surprise comeback some while later. After divorcing the bitch goddess Vicky, Michael married the even more bitchy Liz Rainey. Liz had an affair with Michael's father, Julian and became pregnant. next Liz made Mary think that Julian was carrying on with Loretta Jardin, a recovering alcoholic and student of Robert Browning's.

As the cancelation date grew closer, the storylines started to wind up with breathtaking dexterity--a stunning example of the craft of the writers. Liz admitted she got pregnant on purpose and Julian, unimpressed by her audacity, suggested she pack her bags. Michael divorced Liz and remarried his ex wife VIcky, who had been released from the institution. Meanwhile Steve had married Julian's sister Kate. While suffering from amnesia, Steve became involved with Ellie Jardin, who was later murdered. Steve and Kate adoped Ellie's mute son Peter who later died in a fire. Other characters involved in the major stroylines included Alison Jessup, Julian and Kate's sister; Dr Hugh Jessup, Allison's husband; and Christine Cameron who had an illegitimate child by Hugh. In 1972, Despo, the infamous Andy Warhol star had a 2 month running role.

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Where the Heart Is Recollections.

Can't offer very much that is substantive here though I did occasionally watch the show. Three concrete recollections. On the preem, (September 8th, 1969) the very first scene was of Diana Van der Vlis answering her kitchen door to admit Diana Walker.

In the winter of 1971 a young female character with long blonde hair, confined to a wheelchair, went down a flight of stairs in the chair, (don't know whether she was pushed or not). Scene was very well staged and very realistic.

The opening credits featured close ups of a butterfly in slow motion alighting on various flowers in a sunlit garden.

Brent.

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